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US seeks to reverse Florida custody decision

The Reagan administration has asked the US Supreme Court to reverse a Florida court's decision denying a divorced white woman custody of her daughter because she had married a black man.

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The Justice Department says the state court improperly considered the interracial marriage issue and denied the woman's constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

The woman lost custody of her daughter nearly two years after her divorce, and after marrying a black man. The Florida state court agreed with the father's claim that growing up in an interracial household would subject the girl to ''social stigmatization.''

The Justice Department argued that consideration of race in custody cases would penalize a parent's right to marry regardless of race, just as if the state maintained an outright ban on interracial marriages.

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